Bridges Of Life

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Life takes us down many roads, some smooth and other full of pot holes and ruts.  Many times we reach the end of the road and there appears no where left to goAll the roads we walk are one way.  There is never any turning around to change what has happened down the trail in the past.  The only direction of choice is forward.  It is when we reach the end of the road we must look for a way to cross over to the next path.  In order to carry on we look for bridges.  It seems sometimes that there are none to be found, it is then we feel truly lost and alone.

When I look at the old covered bridges I see them as the short connections between two roads.  I love the look and the safe feeling they provide as they surround me as I cross.  It is like walking over the water with no fear of falling in.  Surrounded and protected from whatever the weather may be on either side of these covered bridges.  Walking through the darkness, yet at the end you see the light at the other side guiding your way as you move forward.  To me, these are old friendly bridges that have served travellers for years.  Each seems to have a personality of its own.   The common denominator is the way they look like an arm stretching out to greet you.   Some how reassuring and welcoming at the end of a road, offering you assistance along your journey.

Friends are often bridges in life.  When we stand at the end of a road, sure that there is no where left to turn, a friend can often offer us an arm to lean on.  Aiding us to move onward.  Giving us that protective feeling, being solid and strong for us.  I remember being told as a child that you have no choice in who your family might be, but your friends you choose.  That true friends should always be valued as they have no obligation to care.  Through the years I have made so many acquaintances that I have no way of counting them.  These relationships may be cordial, but it is not what I consider a friendship.

My friends are a very select group of people that I have grown to love and care for very deeply.  They are the people I turn to for advice when I am in doubt. They are the sounding board to hear my thoughts as I must make decisions.  People that I have shared the most intimate details of my life with and to whom I have entrusted my confidence.  Individuals to whom  I am committed as their friend.  Sharing my life with them as if they were brothers and sisters, a real family.  In turn I am there for them day or night no matter the situation.  Doing everything within my power to be of assistance to them when I am needed.  They need only ask and know I will heed their call.

Some of my dearest friends I have not seen for years but the friendship never dies.  Our lives have changed, sometimes running in parallel and other times in totally different directions.  However when we talk or meet we pick up our lives together as if we had never been apart.  The caring is always evident and the interest in one another's life present.

To me, being a friend is the most rewarding aspect of any relationship.  I see the elderly who have been happily married for years and it is obvious is that they are friends.    Brothers and sisters, parents and children that have mature relationships that are strong and healthy are based on friendship coupled with love and respect for each other.  Friends can be children we grew up with, or people we met at work.  A friendship can be made anywhere and anytime during our life.

Sometimes we walk with our friends down the road together side by side and it comforting to feel their presence.  However when they are felt strongest is when the need is greatest.  It is then that they are a bridge in our lives helping us to move forward.  Acting as the support we need as we reach the end of a road and must cross over the turbulent waters of life.

Friendship is a gift, given freely and must always be honored with respect and loyalty.  A friend is to be loved and accepted for who and what they may be.  Not to be taken for granted or abused.  Maintaining a bond of friendship is the assurance that when the road ends there will be someone waiting for you bridging your path.   When called upon you can then return the favor lending your supporting arm for them.

To all my friends, you know who you are, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your gift of friendship.  I know I would not have been able to travel so far without your care and support.  You have bridged many roads for me, I love you all.

                                 Cheryl C. Helynck


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